Tuesday, August 9, 2022
Home Health NCDC Issues Lassa Fever Public Health Advisory

NCDC Issues Lassa Fever Public Health Advisory

NCDC Issues Lassa Fever Public Health Advisory

Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has issued a Lassa fever Public health advisory to Nigerians.

“Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic fever (VHF) caused by the Lassa virus. The natural reservoir for the virus is the Mastomys natalensis rodent (commonly known as the multimammate rat). Other rodents have also been identified who carry the virus.

Lassa fever remains a major public health challenge in West Africa with Nigeria bearing the highest burden. Lassa fever occurs throughout the year but more cases are recorded during the dry season i.e. November through May,” the Advisory stated.

To reduce the risk of Lassa fever, Ihekweazu advised Nigerian to ensure proper environmental sanitation, keep their environment clean at all times and block all holes in homes to prevent rats from entry.

“Cover your dustbins and dispose refuse properly. Communities should setup dump sites very far from their homes to reduce the chances of having rodents within homes.

“Store foodstuff like rice, garri, beans, corn/maize etc. containers which are well covered with tight fitting lids.

The Advisory said Lassa fever is spread through:

1. Direct contact with urine, faces, saliva or blood of infected rats.

2. Contact with objects, household items and surfaces or eating food, contaminated with urine, faeces, saliva or blood of infected rats.

3. Person to person transmission by contact with blood, urine, faeces, vomitus, and other body fluids of an infected person.

Signs and symptoms of Lassa fever:

Lassa fever presents initially like any other febrile illness such as malaria. Its symptoms include fever, headache, sore throat, general body weakness, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle pains, chest pain, and in severe cases, unexplainable bleeding from ears, eyes, nose, mouth and other body openings.

The time between an infection and appearance of symptoms of the disease is 3 to 21 days. Early treatment and diagnosis increases the chances of survival.

In the advisory, the Director-General, NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, added that people most at risk are:

  • People of all age groups who come in contact with the urine, faeces, saliva or blood of rats
  • People living in rat infested environments which increases their chances of coming in contact with rats
  •  People who consume potentially contaminated food stuff especially those left open over-night or dried outside in the open
  •  People who handle or process rodents for consumption
  • People who do not perform hand hygiene when appropriate
  • Relatives who care for sick person with unexplained illnesses at home



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